T Nation

Small Calorie Deficit All Year

If someone were to remain in a 150-200 calorie deficit average all year what would be the outcome? I’m 5’11 175 and right about where I want to be as far as bodyfat percentage. If I were to say hit 2000 calories a day for a week, then up my calories to maintenance the next week and do this over and over for a year what would be the outcome? I have also figured higher calorie days in every Saturday averaging around 4,000. If maintenance is 2650, after all calculations I’d be at 2450 average per day, per month. I’m sure I can maintain 10% bodyfat with this approach, I’m just looking for others thoughts. I figure this way would be easier than just eating maintenance day in and day out.

You would lose 16-21 pounds/year until you stopped running a deficit (or until you disappeared in 10 years or so).


Conversely, if I ingest an extra 257 kcals a day as a surplus, this will equate to 3lbs of muscle a week (1lbs of LBM = 600 kcals x3 = 1800 / 7 = 257 kcals). Over the course of a year, that’s going to be a whopping 156lbs! Who said, maths can’t be fun.

PS - the above calculation is a direct quote from Mike Mentzer’s Heavy Duty II book.

1 Like

You don’t think there will be any kind of adaptation to this intake?

Are you going to be at a weekly average of 2,450 calories per day for a year, or in an average daily deficit of 150-200kcal for a year?

In the latter scenario, you will lose approximately 16-21lbs in that year as @EyeDentist states. In the former, you will lose weight until 2,450 becomes maintenance at which point you will maintain your weight, more or less.

2450 average per month. 2 weeks at say around 2000 cals. 2 weeks around maintenance. Saturday’s allowing myself 4000. Sunday’s a little lower because that’s usually a movie or game day for the family and I so it’s a lazy day. It allows leeway on Saturdays, and will hopefully keep me lean and retain muscle.

Which intake? I ask because you say two different things in the OP. On one hand, you mention ‘remaining in a 150-200 calorie deficit average all year.’ If you were to do this, it would mean that, by definition, your calories would drop in parallel to decreases in your daily requirements, which in turn means you would continue to lose weight ad infinitum (and beyond, so to speak). Later in the OP you talk about an intake of “2450 average per day”–a very different regimen. If you were to do this, you would stop losing weight once your average daily caloric expenditure matched it–but at this point you’ve long since stopped averaging a daily 150-200 deficit, as per the original premise.

It would be an average deficit over the month. 2450 being 200 under my maintenance. I just thought that with the higher calorie days and maintenance weeks I could keep my metabolism from dropping much and continue to lose fat and maintain muscle in the process.

I’m guessing I’m around 10 or 11% and I want to try to maintain that or lose a little more fat in the process.

MOST of your metabolism is related to your weight. You won’t keep it if you’re lighter

Ah. Your question is about calorie cycling vs maintaining a steady-state deficit. Yes, I for one think calorie cycling is superior, both psychologically and metabolically.

Yes. Calorie cycling. Sorry I didn’t make it clear. Thank you for the input. I’m going to try this rather than continue in a constant deficient state.

1 Like

Where is your small calorie deficit at 2400 calories ?

Maintenance is around 2650 to 2700.

At 5 ”11 175 lbs, you should keep calorie on maintenance and maybe a little bit more and gain lean muscle until you hit 200. Your will be big and shredz

Well I’m 39 and have been lifting for over 20 years. If I haven’t hit 200 by now I doubt I will.


Oh good way to see it man… maybe there is something wrong with what your doing

Given what you know about the OP, how would you go about adding 25 lbs of LBM? And what time frame would you need?

1 Like

I’ve been over 200 pounds but was also over 20% bodyfat. Im at 175 now after 14 weeks of dieting down.

1 Like

@saltydawg, you look great (likely better than many of the people commenting). Not that you need my validation/approval, but I’d say your goal of maintaining where you’re at makes sense in terms of both your physique and long-term health. As you transition from ‘dieting’ to ‘non-dieting,’ the trick is to find an eating plan that allows you to maintain your physique without making yourself miserable. In that regard, I will just reiterate that calorie cycling can be highly effective.